SWING!

When Pedro Alvarez was called up in June of 2010, he was supposed to be our savior. Our Sidney Crosby. Our bright spot at the end of our putrid tunnel of doom. Our baseball Jesus.

Instead it was like our savior finally showed up, took a look at all the eager, hopeful, upturned faces worn haggard by 18 years of losing, and said, “SAVE YOU?! I’m just looking for the donuts, man.”

He got fat (by pro-athlete standards) and slow (by molasses standards) and sucky (by Oreck and black hole standards), and he ended last season with a vomitous (by Snooki standards) .191 average. He was then sent to the AAA minors where he could wallow in his suck in peace.

This year, Clint Hurdle has a plan! And if the plan was a PowerPoint presentation it would be one white slide with these words in big black letters: “SWING.” Just like you can’t get a goal if you don’t shoot and you can’t get a restraining order against you if you don’t stalk Mario, you can’t get a hit if you don’t swing … and swing early.

Hurdle must have seen the 2011 numbers, when Alvarez, between injuries, swooned to a .191 average. They are startling: When Alvarez swung at the first pitch, he hit .417 (10-for-24); furthermore, when he put a ball in play no more than two pitches into the count, he hit .347.

Meaning, when he let pitchers work him into deeper counts, Alvarez hit .119. After pitchers jumped ahead of him 0-2, Alvarez was 5-for-65 (.077) — out of a total of 235 at-bats.

So the plan is for our savior to swing, and before you dismiss this as an overly simplistic way of addressing what must be a plethora of complex problems, I remind you of the great Roberto Clemente’s advice about slumps:

If you want to break out of a slump, make sure you get at least three swings at the ball every time up; with a total of at least 12 cuts in four at bats per game, all you need is one good swing to get a hit.

Granted, Pedro is in the middle of a slump more abyss-like than the Grand Canyon, but I have hope that this year he can put the donuts down, brush the rainbow sprinkles off of his jersey, pick up a bat, point to The Great One up in heaven, and send a few missiles over the Clemente Wall.

Let us pray.

P.S. Someone needs to make some “JUST SWING, PEDRO!” shirts, and just like the Tomahawk Chop, every time Pedro comes to the plate, we all mime the bat-swinging motion while chanting “SWING! SWING! SWING!” And then one random dude will scream out, “YOU CAN DOOOO IIIIIIIIT!” Let’s make it a thing because THIS IS THE YEAR.





11 Comments

  1. gunnlino
    March 15, 2012 11:27 am

    Too much math , now my head hurts . Just swing baby !



  2. Butcher's Dog
    March 15, 2012 11:55 am

    Can’t get a restraining order unless you stalk Mario? You mean bucdaddy was lying a while back when he said he had the restraining orders to prove his ‘love’ for you? Say it ain’t so, bucdaddy!



  3. bucdaddy
    March 15, 2012 12:58 pm

    I don’t think he’s fat so much as he’s built kind of thick. In any case, no, he’s not endowed with much speed. It’s not speed we need from him anyway. It would be nice if he’d hit 30 homers, but it would be even better if he’d hit .270 and take some walks, because if you’re strong and you make enough contact, eventually the homers will come.

    Also, he starts swinging at every first pitch and smoking enough of them, eventually every first pitch will be a foot outside. He learns to lay off that pitch, that’s the start of a good at-bat too.



  4. Joe K.
    March 15, 2012 1:21 pm

    Yes, more swings! And less practice swings between at-bats. He must take more practice swings between at-bats than anyone I’ve ever seen.



  5. John Franco
    March 15, 2012 2:41 pm

    I would buy a Just Swing, Pedro shirt!



  6. Dugout
    March 16, 2012 7:40 am

    This made me check out Pedro’s Spring Training stats.

    Here’s the good. He has yet to walk and has 2 homers.

    Here’s the bad. He is hitting 0.222 (4-18).

    Here’s the ugly. His on-base average (0.211) is lower than his batting average. If you are wondering how this is possible, he has a sacrifice fly which does not count as an at-bat, but it does count as a plate-appearance.

    At least he is hackin’!



  7. Dr Kevlar
    March 16, 2012 10:01 am

    People make a lot of Pedro’s weight. I wonder how they would feel if Prince Fielder played here?

    Pedro added a “toe tap” to his pre-pitch ritual. Not sure where it fits in. After: 1) Practice swing outside the box 2) Step in 3) Look up 4) Sigh 5) Hit helmet 6) Extend left arm 7) Grab crotch 8) Toe tap. I suspect that with this adherance to ritual, he may have forgotten why he is there by the time the pitcher throws the ball. Maybe Hurdle can tape a note to his jersey to remind him why he is there.



    • Dr Kevlar
      March 16, 2012 10:02 am

      Not sure why the number for step 8 was replaced with the smiley…



    • empirechick
      March 16, 2012 10:18 am

      Nobody would care about Pedro’s weight if his batting average was anywhere close to it.



      • Dr Kevlar
        March 16, 2012 10:36 am

        That is what i meant by the Fielder reference, empire! If he produced, people would be marvelling at his “athleticism for a big guy.”